The ICES North Sea Benthos Project: objectives and data management
Rees, H.; Rachor, E.; Vanden Berghe, E. (2004). The ICES North Sea Benthos Project: objectives and data management, in: Ocean Biodiversity Informatics, Hamburg, Germany: 29 November to 1 December 2004: book of abstracts. pp. 95
In: (2004). Ocean Biodiversity Informatics, Hamburg, Germany: 29 November to 1 December 2004: book of abstracts. OBIS: Hamburg. 106 pp.
The ICES Study Group on the North Sea Benthos Project 2000 (an offshoot of the ICES Benthos Ecology Working Group) is integrating recent macrobenthic infaunal data (1999-2001) available from various sources, including national monitoring surveys, in North Sea soft bottom sediments. It is expected to cover most of the North Sea. The main goal is an overall comparison with the ICES North Sea Benthos Survey data of 1986, in order to determine whether there have been any significant changes and, if so, what may be the causal influences (e.g., climate change, fishing impacts). The work will contribute valuable information on several other topics such as habitat classification and the distribution of endangered species. In addition to physico-chemical measurements of sediment samples alongside the benthic fauna, information on water depths, temperature, water quality and salinity will be incorporated in the analysis of species and community distributions. Also, we will use existing ecological and hydrographical models for currents, bottom shear stress and carbon input, along with information on the distribution of habitat types, to explain the observed distribution patterns. Data received from the project participants were uploaded into a central database. The database itself is an MS SQL server database, with a front-end developed in MS Access. For the taxonomy/species lists, no separate database was developed, but the ‘Aphia’, existing species register at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) was used. The structure for the taxonomic information was adapted from the structure of the ITIS database. The taxonomic hierarchy is implemented as an open-ended hierarchy, where every taxonomic name or name part is stored in a single record, together with a pointer to a ‘parent’ record. Rather than linking the distribution records directly to Aphia, intermediate tables were used, allowing conservation of the original names, and control over the degree of lumping of doubtful taxa in a single entity for purposes of analysis.